This year I didn't stay in a hotel downtown. I stayed in a hotel that was close to the finish line. So instead of walking to the start line and being shuttled from the finish line back to downtown, this year we drove to the finish line first. Then we caught a shuttle that took us to the start line. The whole process was really easy and we made it just in time to get a few pictures with my Sole2Soul Sisters. There were about 40 of us there running this race! For some it was their first half marathon and for others it was their first full marathon. Then you had the ones who had run tons of races like me!
The plan was to meet at corral 15 for a group picture and prayer. Not everyone made it for the group picture but we got several of us in one! I'm so thankful for this group of ladies!
My friend Katrina, who has moved away, was there for this race! I was so happy to see her!!!!
After lots of hugs and pictures I headed to the port a potty one last time. Can you believe this? There was NO LINE! I had to take a picture because I've never been to a race where I didn't have to stand in line to use the restroom before the race! Way to go Rock 'n' Roll! You obviously had plenty of port a potties for everyone!
And of course here's the traditional right before the race picture! (Sorry it's blurry...I would've taken another one if I'd known it was blurry).
One of my sisters was writing "Be Strong, Very Courageous" on our hands. I LOVED this! It really helped during the race to look down and read this.
Before I knew it the time was 7:10. The race was starting at 7:30. So I said goodbye to my sisters and started walking to my corral. Oh yeah...did I mention I was put in corral 4 for this race????? I was so shocked to be in that high of a corral! (I guess that sub 2 time helped!)
Andria was meeting me at the corral and I couldn't wait to see her! Luckily she was standing right beside the corral number so she was easy to spot!
We stood shivering in our corral for about 10 minutes. It was soooo cold! And the wind didn't help. We knew we would warm up as soon as we started running though.
Since we were in corral 4 it didn't take long to reach the start line. In fact I could see it the entire time I was in the corral. That was new to me since usually I'm way back and can't see the start line until I get closer to it. So it was pretty cool to see it right away!
One last picture before we were on our way!
Hello Start Line!!! We were at the front of our corral so we stopped right on the line waiting to go! I felt pretty important lol!
And then....it was our turn!!! At first it was pretty chilly running. But before long I started warming up. I ditched my throw away jacket around mile 1 as we turned onto St. Charles Avenue. This part of this course is my least favorite. You run down St. Charles until mile 4 and then you turn around. You stay on St. Charles until almost mile 8 before you turn and head to Magazine Street. St. Charles is not the best of roads. There are tons of pot holes and you really have to watch where you are running. Usually it's very congested but I guess the earlier corral helped because everyone was running about the same pace. I didn't have to weave in and out of slower runners or walkers at all...the glory of being in your correct corral!
I was feeling great! The only thing that was bothering me was my right quad right above my knee was getting tight. I would adjust my stride for a few seconds and it would get better. I am in the need for new shoes so I am pretty sure that was the reason it was doing this.
Finally we turned off of St. Charles! I was ready to enter the French Market and see some sights! First we had to run through some of downtown. I love the buildings!
I tried to take a selfie while running...it's a lot harder than it looks! I'm gonna have to work on that lol!
I kept looking and looking because I knew that we should be seeing the huge Brooks inflatable of the guy with the guitar. But he was never there. I was sad because I've stopped to get a picture in front of him every time I've run this race. Not sure why they didn't have him on the course this year.
Finally we made it to my favorite part of the course...Decatur Street! We passed Jackson Square and Cafe Du Monde!
Before long we saw the 10 mile sign!!! Only 3.1 more miles to go!!! We turned onto Esplanade Avenue and I knew it was straight shot from there. Of course this part of the course always seems to take forever! Around mile 10.5 Andria slowed down some but I kept going. I was feeling good. I knew I wasn't going to sub 2 but knew I had a shot to come in under 2:05 if I could keep pushing. So that's what I did.
When I got to mile 12.5 the course split...the marathoners were turning left and the half marathoners were staying straight. I was happy to be going straight! I saw the Museum of Art in front of me and knew we only had to circle around it and then I would see the finish line. We circled the museum on the left side which was a change from the previous years when we circled on the right.
I saw mile 13! I only had .1 to go so I kicked it in gear! I did it! I met my B Goal and finished under 2:05!!!
Oh yeah for the record on my new Garmin!!!
My official time was 2:04:31! I was super proud of that time coming off of a calf strain injury!
I waited in the finisher's chute for Andria. I knew she wasn't far behind me. She finished in 2:07!!! I was so proud of her! It was her first half marathon and she did amazing!!!!
We were walking out of the finisher's chute and we saw Larisa! I didn't get to hang out with her this weekend like I'd hoped so it was great seeing her!
She was kind enough to take a picture of me and Andria!
Andria's family caught a picture of us walking through the finisher's chute!
But not before we stopped to grab our low fat chocolate milk! One of the best things about Rock 'n' Roll Races is the chocolate milk at the end!!!
Then we found Andria's family. I was so happy they came to watch her complete her first half marathon! It was such a special day for her and I was so blessed to be a part of it!
I was super happy with this race! It's always so much fun! And I was pretty happy with my time too! The only thing that was missing was the bands! There weren't as many as I remembered playing that day. I'm not sure why. But the after party was fun! Kongos played and they were awesome!
Will I do this race next year? Absolutely! After all...this was my 5th time running it!
And the medal is pretty awesome as always! :-)
QOTD: What is your favorite Rock 'n' Roll Course?
Disclaimer: As a Rock 'n' Blogger I was provided a free race registration in exchange for this post. No other compensation was received. All opinions in the post are mine and mine alone!